Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Dances With Dragons A Dance With Dragons
by George R. R. Martin

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jo Toon

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series (though technically, for me, the sixth as in the UK, A Storm of Swords was divided into two books). Tyrion is travelling towards Queen Daenerys, who is having trouble with a rebel group called Sons of the Harpy. Jon Snow is lord commander of the Night's Watch, and having to make difficult decisions. Bran and Hoddor are travelling, stalked by men and direwolves.

And this is all that has happened in the first 120 pages. For a series which is five books in, I expect more excitement and action, and, after waiting so long for it to come out, I was sorely disappointed. I love epic fantasy, I love books with warfare, blood and politics, but the pace has to keep moving, particularly at this stage in the plot. It has taken me over six months to write this review, because I was always hoping that I'd be able to muster up the energy and will to keep going past the point where I ground to a halt. I'd wanted to find out what happened to the remaining members of the Stark family, to know what fate (or the author) had in store for them, whether they would all survive to the end of the 959 pages. But, in the end, it was too much effort. A series which now has over 50 pages of Dramatis Personae simply has too many characters, and I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to wade through the different storylines a chapter at a time just to find out what had happened to my favourites.

So – if you want a review from someone who has read the whole book, then there are many others online. For me, as far as I got was summed up in George R. R. Martin's own words (in the Acknowledgements at the end) "This one was three bitches and a bastard." Very sadly, it comes through very clearly that he did not enjoy the writing the book, which stops it being enjoyable to read, and this is a great shame.

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